Growing up I always knew my story was little different, somewhat out of the ordinary. One of the first questions I always get asked when delving into the topic of my adoption runs along the lines of “How did you find out?” or “Are you okay with it?” And although I would much prefer to share some story of eight year old Emma, running down the road pushing Samson, the oversized family cat, in a small plastic pram with only a few granola bars to sustain the long journey to “Anywhere but here, Mum!” , instead I have a rather boring tale of a girl who grew up knowing she was special and loved and will unfortunately never share her parents great metabolisms.
It always comes as shock to people, that something so ‘different’ could be so casual. I understand I have had twenty-one years to come to terms with the situation, but really, your the one who put your mouth on your mothers boob so who’s the real weirdo. I also understand that my situation is rather simple, compared to other stories of adoption, which can be far more complicated and even painful. From the moment I caused my ‘birthmum’ a serious amount of ‘downstairs’ pain, I was my parents child. Unable to conceive children themselves, a miraculous spin of events led to the promise of a baby girl in the month of April, 1994. Whisked home only days from my birth I was packed into the back seat, along with hundreds of baby essentials – nothing like some last minute baby prep. And on that drive home began our journey as a family, two crazy, scared and excited parents about to embark on the journey of parenting Emma.
Throughout my childhood, I actually never really thought about adoption at all, I had far more important matters to deal with, like proving the existence of fairies and practicing my laugh, for my hopeful takeover of the baby in the sun on Teletubbies. Of course I would use this ‘weak spot’ to my advantage when times grew desperate, and yes my horrible ten year old self would spit out “You’re not my real mother” in times of rage in ‘spoilt brat mode’. But in general, my selfish, only child self, went on living life with little worry, plenty of love and a crazy amount of baby born accessories.
But as I, ungracefully, entered my teen years, adoption lingered more on my mind, my hormone raging mind pinpointing and exposing areas where I had not yet been. To me it seemed difficult to comprehend the workings of a ‘birth’ mother, carrying a child for nine months, only to experience a pain beyond words where even the f word could not suffice, but to then experience the touch of her own flesh and blood. What a beautiful bond that is shared, one which for a time I did believe I had missed out on. I observed the mothers of friends and family and wondered if there was something different. Some would share a slobbery spoon of mashed peas, something I know my mother would never do, others would flick through old family albums pulling out the oh so flattering pregnancy pictures – while my mother to this day still rocks a dead flat stomach. At times doubt grew inside me that my relationship with my mother wasn’t as loving as others, an issue I recently prescribed as ‘little shit syndrome’ where every mother must choose to love their teenager regardless, and I seemed to make this exceedingly difficult at times.
Looking at my life now, I cringe at the thought of teenage Emma walking around like she’s been hard done by. My parents have done nothing but sacrifice and support me throughout these years, yet here I was completely ungrateful and wondering when my parents would turn around and expose their secret life as double agents, explaining to me that I was merely a disguise for crossing the border into the UK. I guess as I write it down in words, it seems fitting that I place many of my emotional moans and teen woes in the puberty bucket. If anything, as I ascend towards adulthood, I am becoming more aware of the unique bond I share with my parents.
Of course we fight and disagree about 89% of the time, and no mum never shared a slobbery spoon with me, but actually thinking about it now – thats gross and I don’t blame her, and maybe I am a bit of a drama queen and tend to play on emotions for the sake of my very own spotlight… So in all of this, I end with an apology to my parents, you had no idea what was in store for you when you left that hospital, no one could have prepared you for the child I pray to never conceive, the teenager I would have sent to prison, and the now young adult who may never get a degree, but you survived. Doctors told you wouldn’t have kids and SURPRISE, you got me.
Thank you for not sending me off when I was twelve with the child protection lawyer I contacted, because you were leaving me home alone and the legal age to be left home alone was thirteen…You are the real MVP’s